First Crack 99. Jeremy Raths and the Search for Extraordinary Coffee

We catch up with Twin Cities coffee legend Jeremy Raths and talk about:

  1. Moving The Roastery from a coffee shop in the middle of St. Paul to delivering coffee from an abandon convent.
  2. The history of the speciality coffee market – nationally and locally.
  3. How the coffee market is changing to benefit the small, local, coffee farmer.
  4. The flexibility to choose just the coffees he finds interesting.

Listen to Jeremy Raths and the Search for Extraordinary Coffee [28 min].

First Crack 98. I Drink Coffee From a Cat’s Butt

“It really does taste different: musty, heavy, rich, strangely complex. Hints of chocolate, old wood, hazelnut. Fresh out of the roaster, it smelled a bit like a newborn baby’s urine.” – Sam Buchanan

On the first nice Saturday of the year, Sam Buchanan and I met at Coffee and Tea Ltd for a $10 cup of coffee that came from the backside of the Asian Palm Civet (not something that happens in the wine world).

Listen to Sam and I taste the Kopi Luwak coffee [8 min].

Starbucks Tomorrow: McDonalds or Neighborhood Roaster?

When I’m on the road, Starbucks is where I get my internet access.

My taste for their coffee has gone from dislike to barely tolerable. These days, I spend $1.57 there on a small decaf that I sip for my 2 hours of laptop battery life.

“Put another way, there are two markets for coffee drinkers: those who love coffee, and everyone else. Can Starbucks really continue to try to serve both” – Peter Meehan

That’s the question. Doc says they should go back to their roots.

4) Give your employees better training around what makes great espressos and cappuchinos. (Lattes are too milked-down to serve as a reference point.) Don’t hire them if they don’t grok the basics.

5) Get more involved in local communities. Peets puts on workshops that educate customers on great coffee drinks. That’s a good model. Do the same.

Home Roasting Hack Method #2


There are three problems I’ve run into since roasting with the Poppery

  1. Small batch sizes (a maximum of 1/2 cup at a time)
  2. Inconsistent roast times (the Poppery continually gets hotter – shorting roasts, burning beans)
  3. The ambient temperature needs to be warm. So, no roasting in the Minnesota winters

Looks like a new roasting technique solves all three problems at once.

Like podcasting, I’m pretty sure I’ve got all the necessary gear in the basement. More later.

Coffee Snobs Move on to Homemade Roasts

I’m finally making my home office more comfortable, so I can spend more focused and productive time without getting distracted by the rest of the house.

One of the things that crossed my mind was installing a small batch coffee roaster. Then friend of the show Pete T. points me to the NYTimes article on home roasting.

“At the end of a meal at a restaurant I’d like a cup of coffee. But it’s pretty rare that I’ll order it anymore,” he said. It just won’t taste right.” – Chris Becker

I’m with Chris, pretty particular about my coffee. But you know that.

First Crack 63. Coffee Technology with Timothy Tulloch of

Timoth Tulloch, CEO and Roastmaster at Minnesota-based European Roasterie (, and I talk coffee technology, from brewing to packaging, and why he’s aggressively moving into the single-serve coffee pod program (declaring the Black & Decker Home Cafe the best pod brewer). We wrap up with the culture of specialty coffee and how independent coffee shops can win against Starbucks.

I’ve been really enjoying their Mulawi and the new theme song is by Jeremy Piller.

Listen to Coffee Technology with Timothy Tulloch of [27 min]